Presidential Scholars Theses (1990 – 2006)


Open Access Presidential Scholars Thesis

First Advisor

Julie Bundt


Referendum--United States; Stadiums--United States--Finance;


Democracy is a system of government in which the people of a state govern themselves under the idea that every person's vote and opinion is equal in the eyes of the government. In its purest form, a democratic government involves all citizens equally in every level of administration. The United States government was founded on this belief that citizens deserve the right to govern themselves, but the system created by the founders of this country was a form of representative democracy. Rebelling against the British monarchy, which would not allow the American colonies a voice in Parliament, the founders of this country created a system of government that allowed its voters to elect citizens who would represent them in the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. As this country has grown and changed during its 225 years of existence, several modifications to representative democracy have been introduced. These modifications either claim to better represent the voters, or they claim to make the representative democracy of this country a more pure form of democracy. One revision of representative democracy geared toward making American democracy more pure that has been introduced and used for over 100 years is the initiative, a system of allowing voters to propose and pass a law while bypassing state legislatures. One of the main arguments made for the initiative is that it increases voter turnout. Although initiatives do not increase turnout across the board, certain sensational issues do increase turnout. An example of a sensational issue that increases voter turnout that will be addressed in this paper is a bond issue intended to build a sports stadium. This paper will examine the I initiative issue in terms of its history, its impact on democracy, and specifically its impact on voter turnout in sports stadium referendums.

Date of Award



Department of Political Science

Presidential Scholar Designation

A paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation Presidential Scholar


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Date Digital



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